John McCain picks up two big endorsements

Former candidate for president, and McCain’s ally in the Senate, Fred Thompson has officially endorsed John McCain (h/t: Memeorandum):

Fred Thompson, the one-time Republican presidential candidate, endorsed Sen. John McCain Friday, calling on the party to “close ranks” behind the presumed nominee.

“This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republican should close ranks behind John McCain,” Thompson said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.


The endorsement now may help McCain to coalesce the factions of the party around him. Thompson, who represented Tennessee in the Senate for eight years, is thought of well in the South, an area that McCain has not done well in.

I predicted a few weeks ago that Thompson would endorse McCain, although I figured it would happen before Florida.

The other big endorsement? Our tough-as-nails former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton:

John Bolton used his speech at CPAC to pursaude restive conservatives that the stakes in the world (the Iranian and North Korean nuclear threats, the prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamic terrorists) were too great to sit this election out because of their disagreements with John McCain, and allow the Democrats to gain control of foreign policy.

Bolton said it was now clear that he would be the nominee, and specifically addressed those who argue that conservatives would be better off in the long run if Democrats win and mess things up than if mistakes are associated with a Republican. He compared this logic to Vladimir Lenin’s declaration that “worse is better” and said that “tactical domestic considerations” shouldn’t be allowed to harm our national security.

Here’s a video snippet from Bolton’s endorsement at CPAC (via Flopping Aces):

While it’s arguable that Thompson may be angling for something (consideration for VP, perhaps?) John Bolton is not. Bryan at Hot Air makes a very persuasive argument here:

If the choice is between a view supported by John Bolton, a man who has been in the arena and fought the fights with his own fists, and a view supported by Ann Coulter, well, Bolton’s view is probably the one that will ultimately win out.

Sam Stein says Bolton is batting for McCain in the hope that McCain wins and names him SecState. No way. Bolton cares about the war and national security and wants to see America protected from jihadists. Bolton knows that neither of the Democrat contenders get it. He sees McCain as the superior choice. Bolton also knows that there’s no way he could get through the Democrat Senate and be confirmed as SecState. Sometimes a tree is just a tree, folks.

And contrary to Michelle Malkin’s assertion that the endorsements coming McCain’s way are about “submission” to McCain, an assertion that conservatives (like myself) who have put a lot of thought into announcing their support of McCain should resent, it’s not. No one is suggesting that we shouldn’t still have policy disagreements with McCain, and no one is suggesting that we stop openly criticizing McCain. What most of the critics of Rush, Sean Hannity, and others are saying is that certain criticisms border on the “Kossack-like” – and that these critics, by amplifying their rhetoric, are giving plenty of ammunition to the opposition for the general election campaign season.

Republicans/conservatives alike should be able to disagree – and passionately so – without treating the eventual nominee like he’s going to “destroy” the country. He’s not. Yes, let’s have these debates about McCain’s record, but let’s also not lose sight of The Big Picture and the candidates whose main interest is to turn this country into some sort of Socialist’s utopia. If we spent as much time hammering Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the party has been John McCain, it would give the general public the opportunity to see what a bad idea a presidency under the eventual Dem nominee would actually be.

I leave you with the words of Bill at INDC, who doesn’t consider himself a conservative on certain issues, but who has been to Iraq twice, and has published pieces and pictures about his visits, some of which I’ve referenced here. He’s given me permission to re-post some of the comments he made during a recent email exchange he, I, and several other bloggers were a part of related to the debate over a McCain nomination:

But that aside, I have overriding feelings about one issue: a lot of brave people have given their lives, limbs and peace of mind to the two wars we are engaged in, one of which we are finally, remarkably and probably decisively winning at this point. That said, having researched the topic extensively and embedded with the Marines in Anbar twice, I know that true victory will require stabilization of the Iraqi government, which will require American advisership and honest brokerage of their administration and political process through at least 2010, possibly 2012.

And the Democrats –especially Obama – have been explicit about their intent to abandon Iraq, whereas McCain has been just the opposite.

Now, I tend to counsel conseratives to think about this election without emotion: “Pick the lesser of two evils” I say. “Think of 3 more Ruth Bader Ginsburgs on the Supreme Court for 15-20 years.” “Please consider the sacrifice in lives and resources on the Iraq war, and the threat of global jihad.”

But when I stray from dry analysis and think about what matters to me, I think of guys like Travis Manion ( fighting and dying to eradicate al Qaeda and stabilize Iraq. A guy shot through the heart in filthy Fallujah streets, while we fling around political nicknames for people on domestic issues. I think of the US military basically shouldering this burden alone in American society.

And when I think about folks talking about letting the Democrats waste that young man’s life merely because they don’t want to pick the (far) lesser of two evils, I have a hard time not getting really pissed off.

No offense intended to those expressing their political principles in good faith, but that’s how I feel.

We’ve got nine months til the general election, which gives conservatives who are unsure at this stage of what they’re going to do plenty of time to think about the decision they are going to make. I implore these conservatives to keep their minds open to the possibility of voting for McCain. Bill, who is far from a partisan, makes one of the most convincing cases I’ve seen for a Mc presidency. I hope while conservatives are deliberating these next few months over what to do, that they keep arguments like Bill’s in mind.

Related: 2/8/08: McCain challenges Democratic rivals on Iraq war


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